Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More on the hawkishness of Hillary Clinton

We may see less of this than we fear.
Harvard Professor Stephen Walt is a scholar of international relations who finds reason to hope that U.S. imperial pretensions have exhausted their run:
... assuming Trump loses, are we stuck with the same strategy of liberal hegemony that has performed so poorly for the past 25 years? Hillary Clinton and her vast team of advisors are strongly committed to the familiar nostrums about America’s “indispensable” role, and her administration may keep trying to roll the stone uphill and remake the world in America’s image. Indeed, some insiders think she’ll be quick to abandon Obama’s somewhat more cautious attitude and take a more interventionist approach to trouble spots like Syria.

Maybe, but I’m not so sure. The days when the United States could manage most of the globe simultaneously are behind us; the federal budget will be tight no matter who wins; China is getting stronger and more ambitious; and the next president will have to make some hard choices and set priorities among Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and other global issues. You might also recall that former president and potential first gentleman Bill Clinton was exceedingly cautious about using military force — and especially U.S. ground troops — and he once told aide George Stephanopoulos that “Americans are basically isolationist.” That insight is even truer today: Because the United States presently faces no existential threats, public support for a costly foreign policy remains paper-thin. Clinton may try to run the world as her predecessors have, but she’ll have to try to do it on the cheap.

So even if Trump goes down in a resounding defeat and a President Hillary Clinton enters the Oval Office accompanied by a phalanx of liberal interventionists and unrepentant neoconservatives, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if she behaves with more restraint than her hawkish past might suggest.
That strange book, The Clinton Tapes, does bear out the image of Bill Clinton as a cautious commander in chief.

And reality is stubborn; U.S. rulers can no longer even pretend to make their own.


Hattie said...

I am going to blog about your blog today.

janinsanfran said...

Honored, Hattie. I keep on trying to separate out the more meaningful signals from the infinite noise.

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